PUNE: In order to check and reduce the number of child marriages in the State, Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP), and 15 other NGOs, have come together to raise their voices and spread awareness among families and young boys and girls.
Speaking to Sakal Times, Sonali Kunjir, Joint Secretary, KKPKP, Pimpri-Chinchwad, said that in the past eight to 10 months she has stopped 11 child marriages in her area.
“It is sad to see that young girls are forced to get married because they are conceived a burden by their parents as well as families,” she said.
“Parents think that these young girls might elope in love affairs and prefer taking them out of school and forcing them to get married,” said Kunjir.
This restricts the girl to only her family, and makes her dependent on her husband financially.
“It is very difficult to convince parents to let the girls continue their education. Even after we stop the marriage, many girls are forced to stay at home. We have encouraged these young girls to move to a hostel and complete their education. The rehabilitation of these girls is important and giving them an opportunity to get an education is also important to strengthen them,” said Kunjir.
She said young girls, who get married before the age of 18, also face domestic violence and discrimination for dowry.
“A girl who was married when she was a minor revealed that her in-laws were not happy even when she was blessed with a boy. They asked her to go to her parents and while coming back, forced her to bring money. Many such cases happen. The girl is stuck in the vicious cycle of being a burden as she is not educated to financially support herself,” said Kunjir.
- According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) for 2015-16, around 26.3 per cent women between the age of 20-24 years were married before the age of 18 years.
- According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) for 2005-2006, the same number was 39.4 per cent.